Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Matthew Fisher

Returning to a studio building in Greenpoint last week, I did a visit with Matthew Fisher. On our way up the stairs he politely asked if it was going to be okay that he had brought along his canine companion. Stoked by the canine and feline friends that many artists have had with them on our visits (Webster, Dill, and Martin to name a few) I let him know that it was more than okay. What a great coincidence that I randomly asked for a date just days after he and his wife had rescued Javier  a handsome little dude from Puerto Rico. I had been jazzed by the prospect of drawing Fisher's paintings for some time and he was just getting ready to ship work off to the West Coast for a show that opens on February 27th at Ampersand Gallery in Portland, Oregon when I finally did. Some real beauts were still hanging around the studio, a couple paintings in their last stages of completion. We talked for a while about Fisher's space and practice; I gave Javier a few scratches behind the ear, and it was time to get to work, with Polish beers in hand, of course. We were in Greenpoint, after all.

There is a strange familiarity to Fisher's silky, impeccably rendered paintings. It seems as though the material entity that his imagery is describing is locked away somewhere in the future: unreleased album covers, imaginary road signs to sandy coastal drives, labels for a new kind of drink that gives you multiple kinds of buzzes. I talked to Fisher about his recent works' obvious affection for large bodies of water. To quote Thomas Carlyle, "It is through symbols that man consciously or unconsciously lives, works and has his being." It seems that Fisher is living somewhere where waves stand still and minimal sculptures hover in the sky, a collision of his artistry and personal history. He explained that his native Great Lakes can be still and glass-like one minute and roar with waves the next. Matt also spent some of his youth summering on Long Island so I began to see where his visual lexicon was gathered from. And, besides all of this, his glowingly surfaced and deliciously colored canvases signify quite satisfying paintings. 

I watched Fisher build up his illusions by putting layer upon layer of acrylic over sections of his painting. The vibrant splatters on the wall around the canvas were a comfort and key to the hidden chaos within each painting. Pretty soon it was time to hit the icy streets again. So while we are all sitting in a piles of grey snow, it seems that Fisher will traveling to a wetter, but at least a little warmer, place. I am envious of that and slightly tempted to ask what Javier will be up to when they are away. Please check out more of Matthew Fisher's delectable work here

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